Welcome to the Nido Class

18 to 36 months – to honor the curiosity and growing independence and the intention is to create a nest, a safe space that promotes growth.

“Nido” is the Italian word for “nest.” The Nido classroom is designed to be cozy and nurturing, making the transition from home to school easier for first-time students ages 18 to 36 months. The GCS Nido classroom provides a “nest-like” environment for education of the whole child. As a Reggio-Inspired classroom, we believe that the classroom, itself, is a “Third-Teacher” as the Nido environment plays a pivotal role in what children learn. The teachers create a classroom environment that encourages exploration, creativity, imaginative play, and wonder. GCS believes that each child brings unique perspectives and contributions to the classroom family. A large part of our Nido teachers’ jobs is to observe each child as an individual and create learning opportunities that follow their interests and developmental readiness.
Our schedule is very fluid depending on the needs and energy level of the class, but always contains the following components:
The class and teachers gather at the table and serve food “family-style” to encourage language development, cooperation, and independence skills. This time also serves as the first “meeting” of the day where everyone comes together, shares food, and discusses upcoming projects, ideas, & plans.

Discovery Time
This is an extended period of the day in which the children are free to choose which activities they would like to participate in such as reading, painting, building, exploring and interacting with staff and peers. During this time, small group activities are planned as well as new provocations with varying materials. Play is the work of the child. When children are playing, they are creating the foundation for their intellectual, social, physical, and emotional development as they are building their brains.

Circle Time: The students’ second “meeting” of the day. During this time, the children gather to sing songs, play games, read stories, share ideas, & develop social skills. This is where the Nido classroom family is formed.
Outside Play: Students get outside as much as possible! The children like to explore in the flower gardens searching for worms and insects, dig and build castles in the sandbox, climb on the jungle gym, and get plenty of fresh air and exercise! The teachers share with their students their passions for the wonders of nature and the outdoors and see where those ideas will lead. When the weather prevents outdoor activities, the spacious, natural light-filled gym offers students plenty of room to move and explore.  

The ultimate goal is to get children excited about learning as they fall in love with school. The faculty works closely with families to find what works best for each individual student in order to make their school year an enjoyable and successful experience. GCS views our relationships with the families as a partnership and believe that we don’t get just the student, we get the whole family!    

Latest Events in Nido



November 1, 2019 1:47 PM

"I am so happy to live in a world where there are Octobers" and I am so happy I get to spend my days in our busy classroom! The month of the pumpkins has come to close as we settle into cozy November focusing on family and love.


Nido March Newsletter

"A house with daffodils in it is a house lit up, whether or no the sun be shining outside." ~ A. A. Milne


Nido February Newsletter

February, the month for love and hearts!

Meet the teachers

Toby Garlitz
Lead Teacher

Amanda Lewis

Michele Brooks

Cindy Williams

Toby Garlitz
Lead teacher – Nido Room

I began my early childhood education career at New Greenbrier Preschool in 2004. During my time at NGP, I was mentored by innovative teachers whose lessons I still carry with me today. That school’s closure led me to Greenbrier Community School where I have been teaching in the Nido classroom since 2015. 

I absolutely love the working environment; the family feeling of the school and being inspired creatively by my fellow co-workers. Michele and I have worked together since 2008. This has not only allowed us to create a good working relationship in the classroom, but one of friendship as well. 

I live just outside of Lewisburg with my husband John, our two cats and a turtle.  Our two grown children continued our family's Mountaineer tradition and were both students at West Virginia University. So, while my “nest” at home is empty, I am blessed to be able to come to the full Nido Nest every day. 

Our classroom is a Reggio-Inspired Classroom, meaning I take inspiration from the Reggio Emilia approach which believes children are capable learners and that they bring their own knowledge and ideas with them to the classroom. I view my role as a collaborator, observer and facilitator, using the students’ interests to help guide the curriculum. Our classroom environment is known as the “Third Teacher” meaning we must set it up to be engaging, stimulating, home-like and comforting. Students must be able to learn through the experiences of touching, moving, listening, observing and creating. We look at each student as an individual and meet them where they are, recognizing that each child develops at their own pace. 

One of the biggest goals of the year is to build strong classroom community. We do this through collaborative artwork and play, learning to name feelings and emotions, and building empathy. We begin our year in our “nest” allowing our students to become comfortable and confident. As the year progresses and our students are ready, we will begin to do activities with other classes, which helps to build relationships outside of the classroom. When we get a student, we get the whole family. Some of the best days of our year are when we plan activities that bring the students’ families into our classroom. 

Play is an essential part of early learning. The students are learning to share, negotiate, cooperate and communicate. It gives children the opportunity to explore, observe, take risks, be creative, and learn about themselves. As an educator, my role is to incorporate age-appropriate learning activities into hands-on play. We look at the interests of the students and where they are developmentally, and we craft provocations to scaffold on what they already know. The main goal of our classroom is to get the students excited about learning and to help them fall in love with school. Once they are excited about coming and feel comfortable, that is when the real learning begins. 

“The child is the curriculum.” – Sally Haughey

Creating the Culture
of the Classroom

Over the first six weeks, the primary focus of all GCS classrooms is to set up the structures and behavioral atmosphere needed to create the ideal learning environment for all students. Students co-create this environment so that they feel safe to voice their concerns and needs, clear in their understanding of behavioral and academic expectations and inspired to learn and grow as a valued member of a real community. Click on the links below on the right for details.

Click on links below for details

Daily agenda Introduced
Every classroom has a daily agenda and the day begins and ends with a morning circle to discuss the the goals for the day and what may have been missed at the end of the day so students are aware of what adjustments will be made for the agenda on the following day.
Classroom Structure Development
Students make lists of what will make the class work smoothly. Procedures are set for how students operate in the classrooms, how they transition from activities, how materials are used and put away, and how they will take responsibility in the classroom for their behavior for their needs.
Social Behavioral Constructs
Procedures for how teachers respond to breakdowns with students, and how peers respond to each other if there is a conflict are developed. Teachers model behavioral responses for students to emulate, which helps to set the tone for a harmonious classroom environment.
Building Trusting Community
Teachers connect with students on a human level to create relationships as caring community members not authoritarian teacher/student roles. Strategies such as being at the door in the morning, saying good morning, showing empathy with separation from parents or emotional concerns of students may have.
Class Promise
A behavioral contract for the rules that govern the class is co-created by students and facilitated by the teacher. All students sign or add hand prints to validate the contract. The contract may get read daily and students are reminded that failure is ok and the class promise is in place for students to realign with if a breakdown occurs. Teachers post the promise in a visibly prominent place in the classroom for students to refer to often.